WhatsApp could soon let you use the same number on multiple phones

FILE PHOTO: A man poses with a smartphone in front of displayed Whatsapp logo in this illustration September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

WhatsApp has managed to reach a worldwide audience and break through 2 billion monthly users despite a severe handicap: The app doesn’t support multiple devices for the same account. One phone number equals one phone or one tablet, that’s always been the equation. And while there are workarounds to allow two different numbers on the same phone (for dual-SIM devices or Business users), there hasn’t been any trick to make the same number available on two phones or tablets simultaneously. The great news is that WhatsApp is already working on this.

WABetaInfo first discovered signs of multi-device support in WhatsApp in November 2019 on iOS and Android. At the time, a “Registration Notification” hinted at asking for a new security code from a secondary phone, and a hidden warning text in chats suggested the ability to have multiple devices per recipient.

In the latest WhatsApp beta v 2.20.110 (APK Mirror), WABetaInfo discovered more clues related to multiple account support. The team managed to trigger different event messages when a persons’s E2E security code changes, both of which show multiple device support is coming. However, it’s still unclear how this will work. Would the first device remain the main one and need to be online for the others to work, like WhatsApp Web does now? Or would the devices be independent and you could use any, regardless of whether the main phone is powered on or connected? We hope it’s the latter.

While the feature is clearly still in development and can’t be manually enabled, it’s surely exciting. It’d be so nice to finally be able to have the app installed on two phones or a phone and a tablet simultaneously. Messaging applications always relied on accounts, not phone numbers, and thus had no issue with multi-device support. It wasn’t until WhatsApp launched that most of us discovered an easier way to join a messaging platform, but realized it came at the price of convenience. Other messengers like Telegram already figured out a way around this limitation, and it’s high time WhatsApp did so too.